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Full text of "Lincoln, the man and the statesman"

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COPYRIGHT DEPOSIT. 



LINCOLN 

The Man and The Statesman 



BY 
DWIGHT GOSS 




CHICAGO NEW YORK 

ROW, PETERSON & COMPANY 



My Work 

Let me but do my work from day to day, 
In field or forest, at the desk or loom, 
In the roaring market-place or tranquil room; 
Let me but find it in my heart to say, 
When vagrant wishes beckon me astray, 
"This is my work; my blessing, not my doom; 
Of all who live, I am the one by w r hom 
This work can best be done in the right way. 
Then shall I see it not too great, nor small, 
To suit my spirit and to prove my powers; 
Then shall I cheerful greet the laboring hours, 
And cheerful turn, when the long shadows fall 
At eventide, to play and love and rest, 
Because I know for me my work is best." 

— Henry Van Dyke. 



2- 

LINCOLN 



The Man and the Statesman 



$¥7 



BY 
DWIGHT GOSS 



CHICAGO NEW YORK 

ROW, PETERSON & COMPANY 






; 



Copyright, 1914 
EOW, PETERSON & COMPANY 



©CI.A36185o . 
PFR ~0 |QM 



FOKEWOKD 

The author of this little monograph was an attor- 
ney in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Because of his 
interest in historical subjects and his ability to pre- 
sent them in a clear, attractive way, he was often 
asked to talk on special topics to classes in the public 
schools. At the request of some of the pupils he 
reduced a few of these talks to writing, so that 
they might be studied with care in connection with 
their work in history. This epitome of the life and 
work of Lincoln seemed to us worthy of a more 
permanent form and a wider distribution. 

Acquaintance with the lives of great men and 
women is one of the best means of setting right 
ideals and developing good character. Lincoln's 
young soul was infused with the life of Washing- 
ton. This sympathetic sketch cannot fail to lead 
to admiration of Lincoln as a man, and admira- 
tion usually leads to imitation. 

On the other hand, the young student can, in this 
brief story, get a clear idea of the real issues be- 
tween the North and the South, through the study 
of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, the Dred Scott case, the 
Lincoln-Douglas debates, the question of State Eights, 
and the Thirteenth Amendment. 

—The Publishers. 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

Parentage and Childhood 5-10 

The Lincoln Family 5 

Pioneer Life 6 

Home in Indiana 7 

A Second Mother 8 

Little Schooling 9 

Youth and Early Manhood 10-16 

A Student at Home , 10 

Begins to Study Law 10 

A Trip to New Orleans 11 

Kemoval to Illinois 12 

Second Trip South 13 

Works in a Store 13 

Continues to Study 15 

Early Public Service 16-19 

Begins Public Service 16 

Elected to Legislature 16 

Practices Law 17 

Marriage 17 

Goes to Congress 18 

Ideals in the Practice of Law 19-23 

Abandons Politics for Law 19 

Sense of Honor 20 

Professional Ambition 21 

The Armstrong Case 22 

Origin of the Great Conflict 23-28 

The Slavery Question 23 

The Kansas-Nebraska Act 24 

Birth of Republican Party 25 

The Dred Scott Decision 26 

The Decision Interpreted 27 



CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

The Famous Debates 28-36 

Candidate for the Senate 28 

The Lincoln-Douglas Debates 28 

The Senatorial Contest 30 

The Freeport Debate 32 

The Alton Debate 34 

Popularity of the Debates 35 

Who Won? 35 

Slaveholders Oppose Douglas 36 

Election to the Presidency 37-42 

Growing Popularity 37 

Candidate for the Presidency 38 

Enthusiasm of Friends 39 

The Democratic Party Split 40 

Elected President 42 

The War 43-54 

The Question of State Rights 43 

Secession Proposed 44 

Choosing His Cabinet 44 

Farewell to Friends and Neighbors 45 

His Life Threatened 46 

The Inaugural Address 47 

The War Begins 48 

Britain Involved 49 

Emancipation Proclamation 50 

Sympathy with Soldiers 51 

Gettysburg Speech 53 

Conclusion 54-61 

His Position in 1864 54 

To Amend the Constitution 55 

The Thirteenth Amendment 55 

A Peace Conference 56 

Second Inaugural Address 56 

The End of the War 59 

His Assassination 60 

Buried at Springfield 60 

An Estimate 61 



LINCOLN 

The Man and the Statesman 

Parentage and Childhood 

The Lincoln Family. — The forefathers of 
President Lincoln were among those sturdy pio- 
neers who crossed mountains, forded rivers, 
traversed forests, and endured hardships to 
advance civilization, build homes and found 
commonwealths. His grandfather early settled 
in the forests of Kentucky. With him were his 
three boys, Mordecai, Josiah and Thomas. 

One morning, while the youngest boy was 
playing and the father and older boys were 
chopping trees near the cabin, a shot suddenly 
came from the neighboring woods and the father 
sank dead to the earth. Mordecai ran to the 
cabin for a gun, Josiah went to the neighbors 
for aid, while little six-year-old Thomas sat by 
the body of his father. Soon an Indian in war 
paint rushed from the forest and attempted to 

5 



g LINCOLN 

seize the little boy. As the savage rushed for 
him his older brother, who had obtained the gun 
at the cabin, looked through a window, took aim 
at a silver ornament upon the Indian's breast, 
and, with a well directed shot, brought him to 
the earth. Thomas immediately ran and took 
refuge with his brother in the cabin. 

Other Indians soon appeared and attempted 
to scalp the father and capture the boys, but 
they were kept off by the brave Mordecai with 
his gun until the neighbors, aroused by Josiah, 
came and drove away the assailants. The lit- 
tle boy, Thomas, became the father of the 
President. 

Pioneer Life. — In those days life was hard 
and stern in Kentucky. The people had not 
only to fight Indians for existence, but to con- 
tend with nature for subsistence. There was no 
manufacturing, no money, and almost no com- 
merce. Each household made its own clothing 
and raised its own food. There were no news- 
papers, no books, no intellectual and social ad- 
vantages, few churches, and fewer schools. Yet, 
notwithstanding their poverty, the people were 
hopeful and happy. From such environment 
came the great Lincoln. 

Childhood. — In February, 1809, during the 



PAKENTAGE AND CHILDHOOD 7 

last month of the administration of Thomas 
Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln was born in Hardin 
County amid the hills of Central Kentucky, 
where his father worked a small farm and occa- 
sionally worked as a carpenter. His mother 
was a woman of handsome appearance and su- 
perior intellectual attainments, considering her 
surroundings and opportunities. Their home 
was a log cabin where rough comfort and rude 
plenty abounded. It was on the frontier and 
amid woods and streams where the future 
President found plenty of hunting and fishing 
and all kinds of healthy outdoor sports. During 
his childhood his mother taught him to read, 
and he went to school for a few weeks when 
opportunity presented itself. 

He early learned patriotism. Once asked if 
he remembered about the war with Great Brit- 
ain he replied, "Only this: I had been fishing 
one day and caught a little fish which I was 
taking home. I met a soldier in the road return- 
ing from the war, and having always been told 
at home that we must be good to the soldiers, I 
gave him my fish. ' ? 

Home in Indiana.— When Lincoln was seven 
years old his father, filled with the American 
spirit of adventure and desire for change, mi- 



g LINCOLN 

grated to Indiana. He built a log cabin amid 
the woods in Spencer County about sixteen 
miles from the Ohio River, and the pioneer life 
was continued. Three-legged stools made with 
an axe ; bedsteads made of poles stuck between 
the logs in angles of the cabin, the outside cor- 
ners supported by crotched sticks, and tables 
of hewn logs constituted the furniture; while 
an iron pot for cooking and tin dishes furnished 
the table. The newly cleaned fields gave corn 
meal, the garden patch produced vegetables, and 
the wild forest furnished game for food; while 
homespun woolen and linen fabrics and the 
skins of wild beasts furnished materials for 
clothing. Lincoln's father was a carpenter and 
a good hunter, so that undoubtedly his home 
was somewhat better furnished and provided 
for than were those of his neighbors. 

A Second Mother. — When Abraham Lincoln 
was nine years old his mother died, and the 
small boy, with his sister two years older, kept 
house for their father while they mourned their 
loss. Within a year their father went to Ken- 
tucky and brought home to them a stepmother. 
She was an industrious, gentle woman who 
quickly won the hearts of her husband's chil- 
dren and they repaid her affection with love and 



PARENTAGE AND CHILDHOOD 9 

honor. After President Lincoln's death his 
stepmother, who was then an old woman, said : 
"Abe was always a good boy. He never gave 
me a cross word or look, and never refused to 
do anything I asked him." Abraham Lincoln 
never received a more glorious tribute than 
those words of his stepmother. 

Little Schooling. — At that time schools in 
southern Indiana were few and far between. 
During his boyhood Lincoln attended only three 
terms, but he improved to the utmost his meager 
opportunities. He early commenced to write 
out his lessons and thoughts. Slates were un- 
known and often there was no paper, so he had 
to take charcoal and write upon pieces of boards 
and wooden fire shovels which he would use over 
and over again by shaving off his written char- 
acters and writing again and again on the 
freshly-hewn surface. He quickly became a 
good penman and an excellent speller. 



One of his old schoolmates tells this story: "We 
were having a spelling match and the word 'defied' 
had been missed by a number when it came to me. 
I started d=e-f— and hesitated, for I did not know 
whether an i or a y came next, when I happened to 
look towards Abe. He pointed to his eye and I 
spelled the word right and held my place/' 



10 LINCOLN 

Youth and Early Manhood 

A Student at Home. — When not in school he 
read all the books which could be obtained. 
There were not many books in the neighborhood, 
but he borrowed all that could be had, and when- 
ever he heard of a new book he walked and bor- 
rowed it. Sometimes he paid for its use by 
work. He read over and over again the ' ' Bible, ' ' 
"JEsop's Fables," "Pilgrim's Progress," a 
"Short History of the United States," and 
Weem's "Life of Washington." The latter 
book became damaged by rain while in his pos- 
session. It was a borrowed book, so the boy 
went to the owner and worked three days to pay 
for the volume. Then it was his and ever after 
he loved and cherished it. 

In the neighboring town of Gentryville a 
storekeeper took the only newspaper received 
in that part of the country. Lincoln often went 
to the store to read the paper. He was always 
well received because he often entertained the 
storekeeper with original compositions and reci- 
tations from books he had read. 

Begins to Study Law.— Among the books 
which fell into his hands at this time was a law 
book, the Statutes of Indiana, which contained 
the Constitution of the United States and the 



YOUTH AND EARLY MANHOOD H 

Ordinance of 1787; these he read with charac- 
teristic eagerness and committed them to mem- 
ory. Beading the old law book directed his am- 
bition to the law and prepared him for begin- 
ning his life-work. 

A Trip to New Orleans. — When he was nine- 
teen years old he made a trip from Indiana to 
New Orleans for his friend, the storekeeper, on 
a flatboat loaded with produce for market. At 
that time he had attained his full stature of six 
feet and four inches, and was possessed of 
strength in proportion to his size. He and a 
companion no older than himself constituted 
the crew of the boat. One night when near the 
end of their journey they were attacked by a 
gang of marauding negroes from a neighboring 
plantation who attempted to rob the boat. The 
two boys not only successfully resisted the at- 
tack, but put the robbers to flight and pursued 
them until all signs of battle disappeared. 

Lincoln's first encounter with the colored race 
gave no indication that he would ever be their 
emancipator. He successfully managed the en- 
terprise and sold the cargo at a profit for its 
owner, so that he obtained not only a glimpse 
of the outside world but some valuable business 
experience. Returning to Indiana he worked 



12 LINCOLN 

two years at chopping and other manual labor. 
He could at a single blow sink his axe deeper 
into the wood than could any other man in that 
part of the country. He also could jump higher 
and farther than any competitor, and no man 
could be found that could place him on his back. 
In the meantime his mind was no less active 
than his body, for he was reading all the books 
he could obtain, writing out select passages and 
committing them to memory. 

Removal to Illinois. — In 1830 the Lincoln fam- 
ily moved to Illinois. They traveled by teams 
and were two weeks on the road before reaching 
their destination in Macon County on the banks 
of the Sangamon Eiver. On the way a pet dog 
was one day accidentally left behind. Just after 
the party had crossed a wide stream the little 
fellow appeared upon the bank from which they 
had come, where he whined and barked in great 
distress. The poor animal was afraid to cross, 
for it was in early spring and the stream was 
filled with ice. Young Lincoln waded the stream 
and triumphantly returned with the shivering 
dog under his arm. He afterwards said that 
the dog's frantic leaps of joy amply repaid him 
for the exposure. 

On this journey Lincoln undoubtedly for the 



YOUTH AND EARLY MANHOOD 13 

first time saw the prairies amid which he spent 
the rest of his life. The Lincolns built a cabin 
on the edge of the timber along the Sangamon, 
where they could obtain wood and water, the 
first necessaries of pioneer life. The river also 
afforded a highway to the outside world. The 
first summer a few acres of the neighboring 
prairies were plowed and enclosed with a fence 
made of rails split by young Lincoln and his 
uncle, John Hanks, from some tall walnut trees 
growing on the bank of the river. Those rails 
were destined to make history. 

Second Trip South. — About a year after the 
Lincolns reached the banks of the Sangamon a 
business man living at New Salem, a small town 
some forty miles below, whose operations ex- 
tended along the river, wished to send a flatboat 
to New Orleans. Having heard of young Lin- 
coln's experience in flatboating, he engaged him 
for the trip. On this journey Lincoln first real- 
ized the evils of human slavery. He saw ne- 
groes chained and whipped, and also saw a sale 
of slaves. The latter so bitterly and deeply 
impressed him that he said: "If ever I get a 
chance to hit slavery I'll hit it hard." 

Works in a Store.- — On his return to Illinois 
Lincoln's employer engaged him to work in his 



14 LINCOLN 

store at New Salem. While waiting for a stock 
of goods to arrive he held his first political 
office by acting as clerk at an election. During 
the day, at intervals of his official duties, he 
told many characteristic stories which greatly 
delighted the bystanders. His standing as a 
good fellow was at once established in the new 
town. Soon after the stock of goods came and 
Lincoln was put in charge of the store. 

At this time, weighing over two hundred 
pounds, he was in full possession of his great 
physical powers and his employer boasted that 
his new clerk could throw down any man in the 
county. A few miles away lived Jack Arm- 
strong, a local character of great renown and a 
well-developed specimen of physical manhood, 
who accepted the challenge. They met and Lin- 
coln won. By that contest Lincoln secured the 
admiration of the region, and by his good nature 
and tact he also won the friendship of the man 
he vanquished. In the months following the 
Armstrong family often aided Lincoln, and in 
after years he repaid their kindness in a most 
substantial manner. 

In the country Lincoln soon established a rep- 
utation for honesty and integrity. One day a 
woman paid him a few cents too much. That 



YOUTH AND EARLY MANHOOD 15 

night he walked several miles to return the 
money and apologize for the mistake. 

Continues to Study.— During this time he was 
using the little learning he had obtained in Indi- 
ana, for he had to keep accounts, but he also 
realized that there was a world of knowledge 
besides reading, writing and arithmetic. He 
read all the books in the neighborhood and made 
friends with the village schoolmaster, who ad- 
vised him to study English grammar. The near- 
est grammar was miles away, yet Lincoln 
walked the entire distance and secured the prize. 
In a few weeks he had mastered the whole book. 

The next year, his employer failing in busi- 
ness, Lincoln enlisted as a volunteer in the 
Black Hawk war. In the selection of officers he 
was chosen captain. His company marched to 
the seat of war in Northern Illinois, but saw 
little or no active service. On his return he 
became a candidate for election to the State 
Legislature, but was defeated. 

The campaign, however, gave him an oppor- 
tunity to show his abilities as a public speaker, 
and his canvass widely extended his acquaint- 
ance. Soon after the election he purchased an 
interest in a store at New Salem and gave his 
time to selling goods, when there were custom- 



16 LINCOLN 

ers; and, when there were none, to read and 
study. But he now had a definite object in 
study, for he began to read law, walking to 
Springfield, fourteen miles away, for his books. 

Early Public Service 

Begins Public Service. — The next year he was 
appointed postmaster at New Salem, which of- 
fice he held for three years. Soon after he 
was appointed deputy surveyor of Sangamon 
County. With characteristic energy and indus- 
try he applied himself to study and in six weeks 
mastered the details of surveying. As post- 
master and deputy surveyor he became well 
known and obtained political influence in the 
community. 

Elected to Legislature. — In 1834 Lincoln was 
elected to the Legislature and commenced to 
mingle with men of state reputation and influ- 
ence. His first legislative experience was emi- 
nently successful from the standpoint of per- 
sonal pride and popularity. The next session 
he was re-elected and by his efforts, and those 
of his associates, the state capitol was removed 
from Vandalia to Springfield. In the meantime, 
having been admitted to the bar, Lincoln took 
up his residence at Springfield, which was ever 



EARLY PUBLIC SERVICE 17 

after his home. He was elected to the Legisla- 
ture again in 1838 and in 1840. 

Practices Law. — His first law-partner was 
John T. Stuart, who was either a member of 
Congress or a candidate for Congress during 
the whole time of their partnership and, as a 
result, the junior member had most of the law 
business of the firm to look after. In after 
years Stuart became an eminent attorney, but 
during liis partnership with Lincoln he was 
more of a politician than he was a lawyer. Lin- 
coln's desire for public life was doubtless inten- 
sified by his associations with Stuart. In 1841 
the partnership of Stuart and Lincoln was dis- 
solved and a new one of Logan and Lincoln 
was formed. Logan was a careful, studious, 
painstaking lawyer, whose professional and 
personal influence upon Lincoln was of the best. 
Four years later the partnership of Logan and 
Lincoln was dissolved, and soon after the law 
firm of Lincoln and Herndon was formed, which 
continued until Mr. Lincoln's death. 

Marriage. — In 1842 Mr. Lincoln married Miss 
Mary Todd of Kentucky. To them were born 
four sons, only one of whom, Eobert Todd Lin- 
coln, lived to manhood; one died in infancy, 
while Willie died in boyhood at the White 



18 LINCOLN 

House, and Tad a few years after his father's 
death. 

Goes to Congress.— During the next few years 
Mr. Lincoln practiced law and was much en- 
gaged in politics. He was an ardent Whig and 
frequently acted upon political committees. An 
excellent campaign orator, he was generally on 
the Whig electoral ticket and always made an 
active canvass for the principles of his party 
and its candidates. He became well known over 
the State of Illinois. In 1846 he was elected to 
Congress. 

During his term the Conduct of the Mexican 
War, the Treaty of Peace with Mexico and the 
problems growing out of the war occupied the 
attention of Congress and the American people. 
Mr. Lincoln opposed the war with Mexico be- 
cause he believed it was an unjust war, but he 
believed that, his country having become en- 
gaged in war, it was his duty to vote supplies 
for the army, and to aid the administration of 
the government, then under the control of the 
Democratic party, in carrying on the war and 
bringing it to a successful close. He believed 
the territory obtained by the treaty of peace 
should be governed and controlled by the same 
principles and policies which for many years 



IDEALS IN THE PEACTICE OF LAW 19 

had governed and controlled the territory ob- 
tained by the Louisiana purchase, and especially 
that the principles of the Missouri Compromise* 
should be observed and continued. During his 
congressional career he showed his hostility to 
human slavery by introducing a bill to abolish 
slavery in the District of Columbia. 

Ideals in the Practice of Law 

Abandons Politics for Law. — Mr. Lincoln was 
not a candidate for re-election to Congress. At 
the close of his term he returned to Springfield, 
abandoned politics, and for several years de- 
voted himself to his profession. He was much 
of the time a circuit lawyer and rode the Eighth 
Judicial Circuit which embraced fourteen coun- 
ties in central Illinois. The Judge would go 
from county seat to county seat to hold court, 
while the lawyers went with him and all stopped 
at the town tavern. In those days there were 
no railroads and the party usually traveled on 
horseback or in buggies. Lincoln was always 
the life of such a party. Full of wit and humor 
he constantly told stories and kept every one 
good naturecl. If the roads were bad, the table 
poor, or the beds hard, Lincoln made the best 
of it, and his jolly spirit was so contagious 

*See page 25. 



20 LINCOLN 

that grumblers forgot to find fault and hard- 
ships were not realized. 

Such a life also stimulated intellectual activ- 
ity. Lawyers could not take their libraries with 
them, but had to carry their resources in their 
heads. Clients often engaged their attorneys 
but a few hours or a few minutes before their 
cases came on for trial, and the most successful 
lawyer was the one who could most quickly seize 
the salient points of a controversy and most 
vividly present them to court and jury. Lin- 
coln's entire life had fitted him for success in 
such work. He knew the hearts of the people 
with whom he came in contact, and how to reach 
their understanding, because of his own diffi- 
culties in obtaining knowledge and learning cor- 
rect habits of thought. It is interesting to note 
that Lincoln after he was a member of Congress 
diligently studied higher mathematics and logic, 
and conquered them without the aid of a teacher. 
He was always a student and to that fact is due 
much of his success. 

Sense of Honor. — Lincoln never attempted to 
deceive others because he never deceived him- 
self. He took no cases that did not appeal to his 
own keen sense of right and justice. "I can- 
not take your case," he said to a man who 



IDEALS IN THE PRACTICE OF LAW 21 

showed that by a legal technicality property 
worth six hundred dollars could be obtained. 
"Some things legally right are not morally 
right. I will give you a bit of advice and charge 
you nothing. Try your hand at making six 
hundred dollars in some other way." 

Prof essional Ambition. — One of the most im- 
portant lawsuits in which Mr. Lincoln ever en- 
gaged was concerning the patents of the McCor- 
mick reaping machines. The case was heard at 
Cincinnati and with Mr. Lincoln was associated 
Mr. Stanton, who afterwards was Secretary of 
War while Mr. Lincoln was President. On this 
occasion Mr. Lincoln first met in court the great 
lawyers of the East and learned their methods. 
On his way home he remarked to a companion : 
" I am going home to study law. " " What do 
you mean?" replied his companion; "you now 
stand at the head of the Illinois bar." "Oh, 
yes," said Mr. Lincoln, "I occupy a good posi- 
tion there, but these college-trained men who 
have devoted their whole lives to study are com- 
ing West and they study their cases as we never 
do. They are now in Cincinnati. They will 
soon be in Illinois. I am going home to study, 
and when they get to Illinois I will be ready for 
them." During his entire life Mr, Lincoln never 



22 LINCOLN 

laid aside those habits of severe study and appli- 
cation acquired when a boy in the woods of 
southern Indiana. 

The Armstrong Case. — One of the most fa- 
mous cases tried by Mr. Lincoln was the Arm- 
strong case. Duff Armstrong was a son of 
Jack Armstrong, with whom Lincoln had the 
wrestling match at New Salem years before. 
Young Armstrong attended a camp meeting in 
Macon County where a number of ruffians had 
congregated. Becoming involved in a drunken 
brawl, he beat with his fists a young man named 
Metzker, who three days after died. It was 
claimed that death was caused by a blow with 
a slungshot given by Armstrong in the fight. 
Young Armstrong was arrested and thrown in 
prison. Just then his father died, but on his 
deathbed he charged his wife "to sell every- 
thing and clear Duff." 

Before the trial Hannah Armstrong sent for 
Lincoln to defend her boy. Learning that the 
prisoner was the son of his old friend, Lincoln 
responded and took full charge of the defense. 
He took pains as far as possible to secure young 
men on the jury. On the trial the most damag- 
ing evidence was given by a witness who testi- 
fied that he saw Armstrong strike Metzker with 



OEIGIN OF THE GBEAT CONFLICT 23 

a slungshot about ten or eleven o 'clock at night. 
Under Mr. Lincoln's skillful questions he re- 
peated over and over again, until the jury could 
not forget it, that he saw the blow by the light 
of the moon, which was shining brightly, and 
that it was late at night. On that testimony 
the prosecution rested. 

In his argument Lincoln produced an almanac 
which showed that at the hour stated no moon 
was in the heavens. On that date the moon was 
in its first quarter and set early in the evening. 
Lincoln also told the jury that he was not there 
as a paid advocate, but to discharge an old 
debt of gratitude, that the Armstrongs had been 
kind to him when he needed friends, that Jack 
Armstrong had aided him in adversity, that 
Hannah Armstrong had been to him a mother, 
and that many times he had rocked the prisoner 
to sleep when an infant in the old family cradle. 
Lincoln knew he had won the case, for as the 
jury left the court room he said to the boy's 
mother: "Aunt Hannah, Duff will be free be- 
fore sundown." And so it was. A verdict of 
not guilty was soon returned. 

Origin of the Great Conflict 

The Slavery Question. — While Lincoln was 
practicing law on the Circuit the slavery ques- 



24 LINCOLN 

tion began to agitate the country as never be- 
fore. When the Federal Constitution was 
adopted slavery existed in nearly all of the 
states, but as the years went by it disappeared 
in the northern states because it was unprofit- 
able, but in the southern states it increased and 
was extended because it seemed suited for the 
economic conditions of the country. This was 
especially true in the cotton states after the 
invention of the cotton gin. Cotton cultivated 
by slave labor became the staple product of the 
southern states, and slavery became a part of 
the social and industrial life of the southern 
people. In the early years of the republic slavery 
attracted comparatively little attention because 
it was expected soon to pass away, but the 
rapid growth of cotton culture made it such an 
important factor in the business and wealth 
of the South that it became in time a most cher- 
ished political institution of the Southern states. 
The Kansas-Nebraska Act. — In 1854 the Dem- 
ocratic party was supreme in national affairs 
and, under the leadership of Stephen A. Doug- 
las, a senator from Illinois, passed through Con- 
gress the so-called Kansas-Nebraska Act which 
provided that the people of a territory, in apply- 
ing for statehood, could establish or reject slav- 



ORIGIN OF THE GEEAT CONFLICT 25 

ery in their state constitutions as they saw fit. 
This measure was a violation of the Missouri 
Compromise which had passed Congress in 1820 
providing that Missouri might come into the 
Union as a slave state, but that slavery should 
never be allowed north of 36 degrees 30 minutes 
north latitude. Mr. Lincoln earnestly opposed 
the Kansas-Nebraska Act. He again entered 
politics and made many speeches in opposition 
to it. This brought him before the people as 
an active opponent of Mr. Douglas, who was the 
author and chief advocate of the act. 

Birth of Republican Party. — In 1856 the Ee- 
publican party was organized to oppose the ex- 
tension of slavery in the territories and Mr- 
Lincoln was numbered among its founders and 
leaders in Illinois. He took an active part in 
the campaign and made over fifty speeches in 
Illinois and neighboring states. The Eepub- 
licans elected their candidate for governor in 
Illinois, carried a number of other states, and 
showed a big vote for their candidate for presi- 
dent, but the Democratic candidate, Mr. Bu- 
chanan, was elected. In this campaign the Ee- 
publican party attacked the Democratic party 
for its violation of the Missouri Compromise in 
passing the Kansas-Nebraska Act. They in- 



26 LINCOLN 

sisted that national authority had a constitu- 
tional right to keep slavery out of the terri- 
tories by congressional legislation, and that it 
was the duty of Congress to restrict slavery 
as much as possible, because that had been the 
general policy of the Federal Government from 
its organization. 

The Dred Scott Decision. — Mr. Buchanan had 
scarcely taken his seat as president when the 
famous Dred Scott decision was announced by 
the Supreme Court of the United States. The 
legal point in the case was whether a free negro 
whose ancestors were slaves could become a citi- 
zen of one of the United States and enjoy the 
privileges of citizenship under the Federal Con- 
stitution. The court not only decided the legal 
point of the case, but discussed its political as- 
pects as applied to the territories. A majority 
of the court held that a free negro, whose ances- 
tors were slaves, could not become a citizen of 
one of the United States so as to become a party 
to a lawsuit in the federal courts, and that, as it 
appeared by the record of the case that Dred 
Scott was such a person, the Court did not have 
jurisdiction of the matter; but the Court also 
said that in the territory acquired by the Louis- 
iana purchase, and from Mexico, slaves could be 



OEIGIN OF THE GREAT CONFLICT 27 

held as property protected by the Federal Con- 
stitution, that Congress could not lawfully in- 
terfere with slaves or property in the terri- 
tories, and that the Missouri Compromise was 
unconstitutional and void. 

The Decision Interpreted. — Had the court 
rested its decision upon the legal point of the 
case, the matter would have attracted little at- 
tention, but what the court said concerning the 
political aspect of the case attracted widespread 
attention, caused intense excitement, and was 
pregnant with great events. If submitted to as 
positive law it overthrew the political conten- 
tions of the Republican party and destroyed 
the object of its organization. The slaveholders 
at once claimed the Dred Scott decision to be 
the law of the land, and that it gave them a right 
to take their slaves into the territories and hold 
them there as property, and have their property 
rights protected. The opponents of slavery 
claimed that what the court said in the decision 
about slaves in the territories was not law, but 
a mere opinion of the court about matters which 
had not been before it for consideration, that, 
however eminent the members of the supreme 
court might be as citizens, their mere opinion 
about political matters was worth no more than 



28 LINCOLN 

that of other eminent citizens, and that the peo- 
ple of the United States were not bound to fol- 
low mere dictum about government policies. 
For the next four years the Dred Scott decision 
divided political parties and distracted the 
country. 

The Famous Debates 

Candidate for the Senate. — In 1858 the Re- 
publicans of Illinois put forward Mr. Lincoln 
as their candidate for United States senator 
in opposition to Mr. Douglas, who desired a 
re-election. Mr. Douglas was also an avowed 
candidate for the Democratic nomination for 
president two years hence. In the senatorial 
campaign slavery in the territories and the prin- 
ciples embraced in the Kansas-Nebraska Act 
were the issues. 

The Lincoln-Douglas Debates. — Joint debates 
between the candidates were held which at- 
tracted the attention of the entire nation and 
became a landmark in American history. Lin- 
coln and Douglas were about the same age, and 
when they met in debate both were in the prime 
of their physical and mental powers, but they 
presented many contrasts. 

Mr. Douglas was the most brilliant figure 
in American political life, and had received 



THE FAMOUS DEBATES 29 

the highest political honors. He had been 
prosecutor, registrar of the public lands, mem- 
ber of the state legislature, attorney general, 
secretary of state, judge, member of Congress, 
United States senator, candidate for the presi- 
dency, and for years a national political leader. 
Precocious in public life, he was prosecutor at 
twenty-one, a judge at twenty-seven, a United 
States senator at thirty-two, and had a national 
reputation before he was forty. Winning in 
personality, fearless in debate, magnetic in 
speech, full of expedients and finesse, he had 
successfully met in political debate all the lead- 
ing statesmen of the day. Short of stature, 
rotund in figure, jolly in countenance, majestic 
in appearance, graceful in manner and address, 
and possessing a voice rich, full and musical, he 
had supreme confidence in his own powers and 
resources. By his friends and admirers he was 
called the "little giant." 

On the contrary, Mr. Lincoln had received few 
political honors, having only been a member of 
the state legislature and a member of Congress 
for one term. He was little known outside his 
own state. His intellectual powers had matured 
slowly, and his mental attainments were the 
results of great industry. Possessing no tricks 



30 LINCOLN 

of oratory, lie convinced only by his earnest- 
ness and honesty. He was habitually diffident 
in public speech ; yet he had complete confidence 
in the justice of his cause. He was six feet 
four inches in height, lean in flesh, stooped 
shouldered, ungainly in figure, awkward in man- 
ner and address, while his voice was sharp, 
shrill and penetrating. But when he had been 
speaking for a time his disagreeable manners 
and mannerisms disappeared and he became 
graceful, sympathetic and fascinating. His 
voice grew pleasing, his face glowed with en- 
thusiasm, his eyes flashed and he often held his 
audience spellbound with impassioned elo- 
quence. By the people he was called "old Abe." 
The Senatorial Contest. — The campaign was 
opened by Mr. Lincoln at Springfield with a 
speech the first paragraph of which commanded 
widespread attention. It was as follows: 

"If we could first know where we are and whither 
we are tending, we could better judge what to do 
and how to do it. "We are now far into the fifth year 
since a policy was initiated with the avowed object 
and confident promise of putting an end to slavery 
agitation. Under the operation of that policy that 
agitation has not only not ceased but has constantly 
augmented. In my opinion, it will not cease until a 
crisis shall have been reached and passed. 'A 



THE FAMOUS DEBATES 31 

house divided against itself cannot stand.' I be- 
lieve this government cannot endure permanently 
half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union 
to be dissolved. I do not expect the house to fall, 
but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will 
become all one thing or the other. Either the oppo- 
nents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it 
and place it where the public mind shall rest in the 
belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction, 
or its advocates will push it forward till it shall 
become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as 
new, North as well as South. " 

Before delivering the speech he read it to sev- 
eral of his friends who severely criticized it, 
and advised him not to deliver it, saying that 
the expression about "the house divided against 
itself" was too radical and sectional in spirit. 
Mr. Lincoln replied: "That expression is a 
truth of all human experience. I do not believe 
I would do right in changing or omitting it. I 
would rather be defeated with that expression 
in the speech and uphold and discuss it be- 
fore the people than be victorious without it." 
To other friends who criticized the speech he 
said: "Friends, the time has come when these 
sentiments should be uttered ; and if it is decreed 
that I should go down because of this speech, 
then let me go down linked to the truth ; let me 
die advocating what is just and right. ' ' 



32 LINCOLN 

After the speech was made criticism con- 
tinued. To one fault-finding friend Mr. Lincoln 
said: "If I had to draw a pen across my rec- 
ord, and erase my whole life from sight, and 
had one poor choice left as to what could be 
saved from the wreck, I should choose that 
speech and leave it to the world." 

The event proved the speech to be of great 
political adroitness, for it forced Douglas to 
defend his own record, and the principles of 
the Kansas-Nebraska Act, to discuss the Dred 
Scott decision, and to argue whether slavery was 
right or wrong. It compelled Mr. Douglas to 
uphold the institution of slavery and gave Mr. 
Lincoln an opportunity to attack it. 

The Freeport Debate. — In a joint debate at 
Freeport Mr. Lincoln made a bold stroke. He 
asked Mr. Douglas: 

1 ' Can the people of United States territory, in any 
lawful way against the wish of any citizen of the 
United States, exclude slavery from its limits prior 
to the formation of a state constitution?" 

Mr. Douglas ingeniously answered as follows : 

"The people have the lawful means to intro- 
duce or exclude it as they please, for the reason 
that slavery cannot exist a day or an hour any- 
where unless it is supported by local police 



THE FAMOUS DEBATES 33 

regulations. Those police regulations can only 
be established by the local legislature, and if 
the people are opposed to slavery they will elect 
representatives to that body who will, by un- 
friendly legislation, effectually prevent the in- 
troduction of it into their midst. If, on the 
contrary, they are for it, their legislature will 
favor its presence." 

Before presenting the question Mr. Lincoln 
read it to his political friends and they all op- 
posed his asking it, saying Mr. Douglas would 
answer the question in the way he did answer 
it and so secure his election as senator. Mr. 
Lincoln replied: 

"If Douglas answers, he can never be president. 
I am after larger game than the senatorship; the 
battle of 1860 is worth a hundred of this." 

With great political sagacity Mr. Lincoln had 
realized that Mr. Douglas was in an inconsistent 
position in arguing that the people of a terri- 
tory could regulate their domestic concerns in 
their own way and at the same time justifying 
the doctrine of the Dred Scott decision that 
slaves, being property, could not be excluded 
from a territory. In answering the question 
the way he did Mr. Douglas pleased the people 
of Illinois, but incurred the everlasting enmity 



34 LINCOLN 

of the slaveholders, who rightly claimed that 
if the dictums of the Dred Scott decision were 
law they had the constitutional right to hold 
slaves in the territories as property and could 
not be deprived of that right by unfriendly 
local legislation. 

The Alton Debate. — In the last joint debate 
at Alton Mr. Lincoln discussed the moral aspect 
of slavery. He said : 

"When Mr. Douglas invites any people willing 
to have slavery to establish it, he is blowing out the 
moral lights around us. When he says he ' cares not 
whether slavery is voted up or voted down' — that 
it is a sacred right of self-government — he is, in my 
judgment, penetrating the human soul and eradicat- 
ing the light of reason and the love of liberty in this 
American people. 

' ' That is the real issue. That is the issue that will 
continue in this country when these poor tongues of 
Judge Douglas and myself shall be silent. It is the 
eternal struggle between these two principles, right 
and wrong, throughout the world. They are the two 
principles that have stood face to face from the begin- 
ning of time, and will ever continue to struggle. One 
is the common right of humanity, and the other is the 
divine right of kings. It is the same principle in 
whatever shape it develops itself. It is the same 
spirit that says, 'You work and toil and earn bread, 
and I will eat it. ' No matter in what shape it comes, 
whether from the mouth of a king, who seeks to be- 
stride the people of his own nation and live by the 



THE FAMOUS DEBATES 35 

fruit of their labor, or from one race of men as an 
apology for enslaving another race, it is the same 
tyrannical principle." 

Popularity of the Debates. — Great popular in- 
terest was excited by these debates. The meet- 
ings were held in the open air and the audiences 
were numbered by thousands. People traveled 
for days and camped on the prairies at night 
to hear the discussions. Many newspaper re- 
porters attended and full reports of the speeches 
were published and read everywhere. There 
were seven joint debates. The first was held 
on August 21 and the last on October 15. In 
the meantime both Mr. Douglas and Mr. Lincoln 
were making speeches in all parts of the state. 
When the campaign began Mr. Douglas drew 
the crowds and attracted the attention, for he 
was a great national character ; but before long 
Mr. Lincoln was sharing with him the honor and 
the plaudits of the people. It was a contest of 
intellectual giants who represented irrecon- 
ciliable principles and policies. 

Who Won? — At their joint debates the two 
men seemed well mated and fairly matched. One 
auditor who expressed the feelings of many 
said: "I felt sorry for Lincoln while Douglas 
was speaking, and then to my surprise I felt 



36 LINCOLN 

just as sorry for Douglas when Lincoln re- 
plied.' ' The immediate advantage of the de- 
bates was to Mr. Douglas, who won the senator- 
ship, but ultimately victory was to Mr. Lincoln, 
who won the presidency. 

After the campaign was over Mr. Lincoln, 
when asked about his feelings concerning the 
result, said he felt like the boy who stubbed 
his toe — it hurt too much to laugh and he was 
too big to cry, 

• Slaveholders Oppose Douglas. — The next 
year Mr. Douglas encountered the hostility of 
those senators who represented the slavehold- 
ing power. They asserted in Congress that 
Mr. Douglas, on account of the Freeport doc- 
trine, was untrue to Democratic principles ; that 
under the Dred Scott decision slaveholders were 
entitled to protection for their slaves in the ter- 
ritories ; and they gave notice that they should 
demand in the next Democratic national con- 
vention a party platform committing the Demo- 
cratic party to legislation friendly to slavery 
in the territories. The Democrats of the North, 
aided by Mr. Douglas, insisted that national 
authority should not interfere with slavery in 
the territories. An irreparable schism in the 
Democratic party was opening on geographical 
lines. 



ELECTION TO THE PKESIDENCY 37 

Election to the Presidency 

Growing Popularity. — In the meantime Mr. 
Lincoln was obtaining a national reputation. 
The Lincoln and Douglas debates were used for 
campaign documents. Campaign committees 
called on him for speeches. Leading public men 
in all parts of the country began correspond- 
ing with him to obtain hi^ views on public ques- 
tions and political policies. In 1859 he made 
several speeches in the Ohio campaign which 
greatly enhanced his reputation and personal 
influence. 

In February, I860, by invitation, he made a 
speech at Cooper Institute in New York City 
before an audience containing many representa- 
tive and educated men. He was introduced by 
the poet Bryant, and he treated the slavery 
question from a political and historical stand- 
point. The leading newspapers of the city pub- 
lished his speech in full and paid him rare edi- 
torial compliments. The speech was soon used 
by the class in rhetoric at Yale College as a 
model in style and analysis. On the same trip 
Mr. Lincoln made several addresses in the New 
England college towns upon political topics and 
was everywhere enthusiastically received. Peo- 
ple wondered at his command of language and 



38 LINCOLN 

his keen logic, until they learned of his years 
of study in the cabin, at the store, and on the 
circuit. 

Candidate for the Presidency. — During this 
time Mr. Lincoln's name was frequently men- 
tioned in connection with the presidency. The 
lawyer friends of Mr. Lincoln began to urge 
him as a candidate. The Illinois country news- 
papers took up his name, and then the Chicago 
journals advocated his candidacy. By a shrewd 
stroke of policy the Eepublican National Con- 
vention was secured for Chicago, which greatly 
aided Mr. Lincoln's chances for the nomination. 
By another stroke of fortune the state Eepub- 
lican convention met at Decatur, near Mr. Lin- 
coln's boyhood home. He was present and met 
with a picturesque ovation which gave color 
and romance to the entire campaign. While the 
convention was in session a standard was 
brought in made of two old fence-rails upon 
which were flags, streamers and inscriptions, 
"Abraham Lincoln, " "The Bail Candidate," 
"For President in I860," "Two Eails from a 
Lot of 3,000 Made in 1830 by Thomas Hanks 
and Abe Lincoln, Whose Father Was the First 
Pioneer of Macon County." Mr. Lincoln was 
at once enthusiastically endorsed as the presi- 



ELECTION TO THE PHESIDENCY 39 

dential candidate of Illinois for the Republican 
nomination at Chicago. 

The next week, when the Republican hosts 
met in Chicago, "The Rail Candidate" had 
many followers. Forty thousand visitors were 
there to attend the convention. The city was 
gay with banners and noisy with music and 
marching clubs shouting for their favorite can- 
didates. The convention was held in a tempo- 
rary structure called a wigwam which accom- 
modated twelve thousand people. Among the 
delegates were the leading Republicans of the 
nation and many other noted men of the United 
States. Nine hundred editors and reporters 
were present. The building was packed, and 
outside was a crowd numbering thousands and 
extending blocks away. Mr. Seward of New 
York was the leading candidate, but on the third 
ballot Mr. Lincoln was nominated. 

Enthusiasm of Friends. — The boom of cannon 
at once announced the nomination to waiting 
thousands, whose shouts of joy were mingled 
with shrieks of whistles from boats, locomotives 
and factories, and peals of bells from every 
steeple in the city. In a few hours the prairies 
flamed with pride and excitement. In every 
town and village there were shouting multi- 



40 LINCOLN 

tudes, beating drums, and boys carrying fence 
rails. " There will not be a tar barrel left in 
Illinois tonight,' ' said Mr. Douglas to his sena- 
torial friends at Washington when told of the 
nomination. Mr. Lincoln received the news on 
the streets of Springfield among his exultant 
neighbors. In a few moments he said: "My 
friends, I am glad to receive your congratula- 
tions, but there is a little woman at home who 
will be glad to hear the news. You must excuse 
me until I inform her. ' ' 

Mr. Lincoln was soon called upon to issue his 
letter of acceptance which, when finished, he 
took to his friend, the State Superintendent of 
Education, for correction. "Mr. Schoolmas- 
ter," he said, "here is my letter of acceptance, 
I wish you to see that it is all right." The 
superintendent returned it to Mr. Lincoln, say- 
ing: "I would suggest only one change. You 
have written, ' to not violate ' ; you should have 
written, ' not to violate. ' Never split an infini- 
tive, is the rule." Mr. Lincoln took the manu- 
script and as he made the change remarked: 
"So you think I had better put those two little 
fellows end for end, do you?" 

The Democratic Party Split, — The Demo- 



ELECTION TO THE PEESIDENCY 41 

cratic National Convention in April, 1860, met 
at Charleston, South Carolina. From the start 
it was hopelessly divided. The South demanded 
a platform stating that slaves could be carried 
into the territories, and that no legislation 
should interfere with them. The North de- 
manded a platform stating Mr. Douglas's doc- 
trine of popular sovereignty. The Douglas 
platform was adopted and the South withdrew. 
Then both factions adjourned to meet again at 
Baltimore in June. There the schism was found 
too wide to close. Mr. Douglas was nominated 
by one faction and Mr. Breckinridge of Ken- 
tucky by the other. Mr. Lincoln by his question 
to Mr. Douglas at Freeport split in twain the 
Democratic party. 

The break in the Democratic party caused an 
independent movement which attempted to put 
aside the slavery question as a campaign issue. 
It called itself the Constitutional Union party 
and nominated John Bell of Tennessee for pres- 
ident. The party platforms set forth the prin- 
ciples and policies of each party as follows: 
The Eepublicans declared that the institution of 
slavery was wrong in morals and detrimental 
to society, and should be restricted to the states 



42 LINCOLN 

where it already existed. The Southern Demo- 
crats declared that slavery was morally right 
and politically beneficial, and should be extended 
into the territories of the United States. Al- 
though not expressed in their party platform 
many Southern Democrats advocated a revival 
of the African slave trade. The Douglas Demo- 
crats declared indifference to the morals of 
slavery as an institution and indifference to 
the political expediency of its extension or re- 
striction. They would leave the people of a ter- 
ritory to decide for themselves whether or not 
they would have slavery. The Constitutional 
Union party completely ignored the slavery 
question. 

Elected President, — During the presidential 
campaign Mr. Lincoln remained at Springfield. 
He made no speeches, wrote no public letters, 
and held no political conferences. He met all 
who called upon him and was pre-eminently a 
man of the people. The campaign was full of 
excitement and enthusiasm. On every hand 
were flags, banners, fence rails, glee clubs, 
marching clubs and great mass meetings. When 
the votes were counted it was found that Mr. 
Lincoln would receive 180 electoral votes, or a 
majority of 57 in the whole electoral college. 



THE WAR 43 

The War 

The Question of State Rights. — Mr. Lincoln 
had grave constitutional questions to face. 
From the organization of the federal govern- 
ment there had been conflicting ideas as to its 
purposes, its powers. By some, the federal gov- 
ernment was considered simply a league of 
states bound together only so long as their in- 
terests required union, from which any state 
could withdraw whenever its interests de- 
manded such action. By others the federal 
government was considered a sovereign power 
to which each state, and the people of all the 
states, owed full and complete allegiance. Those 
holding the first view considered that the peo- 
ple of any state owed their first duty and alle- 
giance to their state and no duty and allegiance 
to the federal government except through their 
state ; while those holding the second view con- 
sidered that the federal government was su- 
preme and that the entire people of all the states 
owed it full and complete allegiance as a sover- 
eign power. The first view was commonly called 
the "doctrine of state rights." In the early 
history of the Eepublic, the advocates of both 
views were found in all parts of the country, 
but as the years went by the interests of the 



44 LINCOLN 

slaveholders in the South made them unanimous 
for state rights, while the commercial interests 
of the people of the Northern states generally 
made them federalists and unionists as opposed 
to state rights. 

Secession Proposed. — For years prior to 1860 
many Southern statesmen had agitated seces- 
sion of the Southern states from the Union, 
whenever their interests should require such 
action, and the doctrine of state rights was thor- 
oughly understood and approved in all the slave- 
holding states. Secession was looked upon as 
no violation of the federal compact and as a 
proper remedy for securing to any state its just 
rights. When Mr. Lincoln was elected president 
the slave-holding states considered that their 
interests were in danger, and no sooner did the 
news of his election reach the South than the 
theory of state rights began to express itself 
in a movement of secession. South Carolina 
passed an ordinance of secession in December, 
and before Mr. Lincoln was inaugurated seven 
states had seceded and formed a Southern 
Confederacy. 

Choosing His Cabinet. — In the meantime Mr. 
Lincoln remained at Springfield preparing for 
the great work before him. He extended his 



THE WAR 45 

acquaintance among public men, and those with 
whom he expected to be associated, by inviting 
them to Springfield and talking over with them 
questions of public interest and governmental 
policy. He arranged his cabinet by consulta- 
tion with leading Eepublicans from different 
states, and he prepared his inaugural address 
with due regard for the distracted condition of 
his country. He chose for his counselors the 
leading men of his party, although many of 
them had been his rivals for the presidential 
nomination. 

Farewell to Friends and Neighbors. — A fort- 
night before his departure for Washington Mr. 
Lincoln went to visit his father's grave, spent 
a day with his stepmother, and provided for her 
future material wants. On the morning he left 
Springfield he made a little speech to his as- 
sembled neighbors which was full of tenderness 
and pathos. He said : 

"Friends, no one who has never been placed 
in a like position can understand my feeling at 
this hour, nor the oppressive sadness I feel at this 
parting. 

"For more than a quarter of a century I have 
lived among you, and during all that time I have 
received nothing but kindness at your hands. Here 
I have lived from my youth, until now I am an old 



46 LINCOLN 

man. Here tha most sacred ties of earth were 
assumed. Here all my children were born, and here 
one of them lies buried. To you, dear friends, I owe 
all that I have, all that I am. All the strange, check- 
ered past seems to crowd now my mind. 

"Today I leave you. I go to assume a task more 
difficult than that which devolved upon Washing- 
ton. Unless the great God who assisted him shall 
be with and aid me, I must fail; but if the same 
omniscient mind and almighty arm that directed and 
protected him shall guide and support me, I shall 
not fail— I shall succeed. 

"Let us all pray that the God of our fathers may 
not forsake us now. To Him I commend you all. 
Permit me to ask, that, with equal security and 
faith, you will invoke His wisdom and guidance for 
me. With these few words I must leave you, for how 
long I know not. Friends, one and all, I must now 
bid you an affectionate farewell." 

His Life Threatened. — On his way to Wash- 
ington he stopped in a number of cities and 
made a number of addresses which were read 
with great interest by people in all parts of the 
country. Threats were freely made against his 
life and a plot was arranged to kill him while 
passing through Baltimore. It came to the 
knowledge of those having charge of Mr. Lin- 
coln's journey, so on the advice of friends he did 
not pass through Baltimore by day, but in the 
night by special car unknown to the public. 



THE WAR 47 

Early the next morning he was met at the train 
in Washington by his friend, Mr. Washburne, 
and escorted to the Willard Hotel, where he re- 
mained until his inauguration. 

The Inaugural Address. — No inaugural ad- 
dress had been watched for with such anxiety 
by the American people as was the first inaugu- 
ral of Mr. Lincoln. Would his policy be to let 
the seceding states go without hindrance, or to 
retain them in the Union by force of arms? 
did he come in peace or in war ! were the ques- 
tions which Unionists and Secessionists waited 
for him to answer. Mr. Lincoln first gave his 
construction of the federal constitution, which 
was that the union of states was perpetual, that 
no state upon its own motion could lawfully go 
out of the Union, that it was his official duty to 
uphold and defend the Union and execute its 
laws in all portions of its territory. He then 
appealed to the Secessionists to take time and 
consider their acts. He closed with these 
remarkable words : 

"In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-country- 
men, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil 
war. The government will not assail you. 

"You can have no conflict without being your- 
selves the aggressors. You have no oath registered in 
heaven to destroy the government, while I shall 



48 LINCOLN 

have the most solemn one to 'preserve, protect and 
defend it. ? 

"I am loath to close. We are not enemies, hut 
friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion 
may have strained, it must not break our bonds of 
affection. 

"The mystic chords of memory, stretching from 
every battlefield and patriot-grave to every living 
heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will 
yet swell the chorus of the Union when again 
touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels 
of our nature. " 

When Mr. Lincoln delivered this address to 
the American people from the East portico of 
the Capitol he looked about for a place to rest 
his silk hat when his old rival, Senator Douglas, 
courteously stepped forward and took it. "If 
I can't be president,' ' he laughingly said, "I 
at least can hold his hat." It was a gracious 
act gracefully done. 

The War Begins.— For a few weeks after Mr. 
Lincoln became president the country was at the 
utmost tension. The federal government was 
watching its interests and property in the states 
which had seceded, while the confederacy was 
waiting for an overt act of war on the part of 
the United States. Finally, South Carolina, on 
April 12, commenced to bombard Fort Sumter 
in Charleston harbor and civil war had begun. 



THE WAR 49 

The President called for volunteers, and all tlie 
states which had not seceded nobly responded. 
Among the public men who earnestly supported 
Mr. Lincoln was Senator Douglas. He spoke for 
the Democrats of the North. The day Fort 
Sumter was fired on he offered aid and com- 
fort to the President. A few weeks after he 
addressed a great meeting in Chicago, saying: 
' 'There can be no neutrals in this war." 

The people quickly divided and soon there 
were only two classes, Unionists and Secession- 
ists. The whole nation rushed to arms and the 
land was filled with marching armies. It soon 
became evident that the war would continue 
until the strength of one side or the other was 
exhausted. 

Britain Involved. — In November, 1861, there 
were foreign complications. Mr. Mason and Mr. 
Slidell were sent as envoys of the Confederacy 
to England and France. They ran the blockade 
from Charleston and went to Havana, where 
they took passage for England in the royal mail 
steamship Trent. Captain Wilkes of an Ameri- 
can man of war stopped the Trent on the high 
seas and, taking from her the confederate en- 
voys, carried them as prisoners to Boston. In 
so doing he acted contrary to the principles 



50 LINCOLN 

of international law, but his act was almost 
universally approved by the American people. 
The British government demanded the return of 
the envoys and President Lincoln ordered their 
return because it was just and right, and be- 
cause the British government in denying the 
right of search on the high seas by the Ameri- 
can war vessel virtually gave up the right of 
search for herself which she had always claimed 
and which was the chief cause of the war 
of 1812. 

Emancipation Proclamation. — During the sec- 
ond year of the civil war Mr. Lincoln published 
the great work of his life, the Emancipation 
Proclamation. In March, 1862, he recom- 
mended to Congress the adoption of a joint reso- 
lution that the United States co-operate with 
any state which might adopt gradual abolish- 
ment of slavery by giving such state pecuniary 
aid to compensate for the loss of the slaves. In 
September, 1862, after the federal force had 
won a victory at Antietam, President Lincoln 
issued a preliminary proclamation of emancipa- 
tion. This prepared the country for the eman- 
cipation, which provided that on the first day of 
January, 1863, all slaves within territory then 
in civil war with the United States should be 



THE WAR 51 

free. On January 1, 1863, he issued the final 
emancipation proclamation declaring, as a nec- 
essary war measure, all slaves free in the states 
and parts of states then in rebellion against the 
United States. 

In preparing the Emancipation Proclamation 
Mr. Lincoln acted entirely upon his own respon- 
sibility and judgment. He wrote it without 
consultation with his cabinet, but when it was 
completed he read it to his counselors, not for 
discussion of its merits and expediency, but that 
he might receive suggestions as to its literary 
composition and the proper time for giving it 
to the public. 

Sympathy ivith Soldiers. — With the soldiers, 
President Lincoln was always popular, because 
he was always interested in their welfare, and 
personally looked after their wants and needs. 
One day in a small park between the White 
House and the War Department a soldier, who 
had just been discharged from the army, was 
cursing the government, and especially the Pres- 
ident, because he could not get his pay. A tall 
gentleman who was passing stepped up to him 
and asked to see his papers, saying he used to 
practice law and might be of assistance. The 
lawyer examined the papers and then wrote 



52 LINCOLN 

a few words on the back. He handed the papers 
to the soldier, telling him that, if he would take 
them to the chief clerk of the war department, 
he would receive his money. The endorsement 
on the papers was, "Attend to this man's case 
at once and see that he gets his pay," signed 
with the initials of the President. The soldier 
obtained his money before night. 

Mr. Lincoln frequently visited the hospitals 
in Washington and often sent flowers and fruit 
to the sick and wounded soldiers. He also was 
a frequent visitor at the military camps, where 
he often dined with the common soldiers at their 
mess table. His riding the circuit in the days 
of his law practice had made him a graceful 
equestrian and his figure on horseback was fa- 
miliar to the entire army. 

The necessity for punishing soldiers for neg- 
lect of duty was a sorrowful burden to the presi- 
dent. During the war he pardoned hundreds of 
delinquents. In the early part of his term he 
pardoned one boy of eighteen who had been 
sentenced to death for sleeping when on duty 
as a sentinel. The young soldier returned to 
the service and on the battlefield of Fredericks- 
burg his dead body was found with a picture of 
President Lincoln next to his heart. The sol- 



THE WAR 53 

diers gave Mr. Lincoln a deserved title when 
they called him "Father Abraham.' 9 

Gettysburg Speech. — In June, 1863, the Con- 
federate Army invaded Maryland and Pennsyl- 
vania and during the first week of July the 
greatest battle of the war, and one of the great- 
est in history, was fought at Gettysburg, Penn- 
sylvania, about seventy-five miles north of 
Washington. It was the only battle of impor- 
tance fought in a northern state during the 
civil war. In the following November a Na- 
tional Cemetery at Gettysburg, where the dead 
of the battle were buried, was dedicated. The 
address was given by Edward Everett, the 
greatest living American orator. When he had 
finished, the president, who was present as a 
guest, was called upon to set apart the grounds 
to their sacred use. He arose and delivered 
the famous Gettysburg speech which is univer- 
sally considered to be a literary masterpiece. 
What Mr. Everett said on that occasion has 
long been forgotten ; what Mr. Lincoln said will 
be remembered until literature and patriotism 
shall be no more. The speech is as follows : 

"Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers 
brought forth upon this continent a new nation, con- 
ceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition 



54 LINCOLN 

that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged 
in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or 
any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long 
endure. We are met on a great battle field of that 
war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that 
field as a final resting-place for those who here gave 
their lives that that nation might live. It is alto- 
gether fitting and proper that we should do this. 
But in a larger sense we cannot dedicate, we cannot 
consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The 
brave men, living and dead, who struggled here 
have consecrated it far above our poor power to 
add or detract. The world will little note, nor long 
remember, what we say here; but it can never for- 
get what they did here. It is for us, the living, 
rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work 
which they who fought here have thus far so nobly 
advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated 
to the great task remaining before us, that from 
these honored dead we take increased devotion to 
that cause for which they gave the last full measure 
of devotion ; that we here highly resolve that these 
dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, 
under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and 
that government of the people, by the people, for the 
people shall not perish from the earth." 
Conclusion 

His Position in 1864. — In 1864 Mr. Lincoln 
was renominated for president. By his influ- 
ence a plank was inserted in his party platform 
stating that slavery was the cause and strength 
of the war; that it was hostile to the principles 



CONCLUSION 55 

of Eepublican government, that national safety 
demanded its complete extirpation from the soil 
of the Kepublic, and that the Constitution ought 
to be amended to terminate and forever prohibit 
the existence of slavery within the limits and 
jurisdiction of the United States. This was the 
real issue of the campaign presented to the 
voters of the country. Mr. Lincoln was tri- 
umphantly re-elected and the abolition of slav- 
ery was endorsed by the votes of the people. 

To Amend the Constitution. — Under the con- 
stitution an amendment can be made only when 
proposed by two-thirds of both houses of Con- 
gress, or applied for by the legislatures of two- 
thirds of the several states, and ratified by the 
legislatures of three-fourths of the several 
states or by conventions in three-fourths there- 
of as may be proposed by Congress. 

The Thirteenth Amendment. — The people had 
so emphatically expressed their desire for the 
abolition of slavery that Mr. Lincoln in Decem- 
ber asked Congress to pass the requisite meas- 
ure without waiting for its passage by the Con- 
gress which had just been elected. The measure 
passed both houses of Congress in January, 
1865, and the Thirteenth Amendment prohibit- 
ing slavery became an assured fact, for its rati* 



56 LINCOLN 

fication by the states came as fast as the legis- 
latures could meet and act. In Mr. Lincoln's 
first election the people voted that slavery 
should be restricted to the states where it al- 
ready existed ; in his second election they voted 
for its abolition in all the states and territories. 
A Peace Conference. — In February, 1865, the 
Confederacy sent three peace commissioners to 
meet President Lincoln and Secretary Seward 
concerning a cessation of hostilities. They met 
on board a United States steamer at Hamp- 
ton Eoads. Nothing came of the conference be- 
cause the differences were irreconcilable. The 
Southern commissioners demanded at the out- 
set recognition of the Confederacy as a sover- 
eign power. Mr. Lincoln insisted that before 
mediation and reconciliation federal authority 
must be recognized in all the states. One of 
the commissioners said there was a precedent 
for an executive entering into an agreement 
with persons in arms against public authority, 
and quoted Charles I of England as so doing. 
Mr. Lincoln replied: "I do not profess to be 
posted in history, but I distinctly recollect that 
Charles lost his head." 

Second Inaugural Address. — In the meantime 
the civil war was rapidly coming to a close. 



CONCLUSION 57 

The Confederacy was on the verge of dissolu- 
tion when Mr. Lincoln was inaugurated the 
second time and spoke his last words to the 
American people concerning the slavery ques- 
tion with which his public life had been so inti- 
mately associated. In his second inaugural 
address he spoke with the dignity and grandeur 
of a Hebrew prophet. The address was as 
follows : 

"Fellow-countrymen: At this second appearing 
to take the oath of the presidential office, there is 
less occasion for an extended address than there was 
at first. Then a statement somewhat in detail of a 
course to be pursued seemed very fitting and proper. 
Now, at the expiration of four years, during which 
public declarations have been constantly called 
forth on every point and phase of the great contest 
which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the 
energies of the nation, little that is new could be 
presented. 

"The progress of our arms, upon which all else 
chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as 
to myself, and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory 
and encouraging to all. With high hope for the 
future, prediction in regard to it is ventured. On 
the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all 
thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending 
civil war. All dreaded it; all sought to avert it. 
While the inaugural address was being delivered 
from this place, devoted altogether to saving the 
Union without war, insurgent agents were in the 
city seeking to destroy it without war — seeking to 



58 LINCOLN 

dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. 
Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would 
make war rather than let the nation survive, and the 
other would accept war rather than let it perish. 
And war came. One-eighth of the whole population 
were colored slaves, and distributed generally over 
the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. 
These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful 
interest. All knew that this interest was somehow 
the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate and 
extend this interest was the object for which the 
insurgents would rend the Union, even by war, while 
the government claimed no right to do more than 
to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. 

"Neither party expected for the war the magni- 
tude or the duration which it has already attained. 
Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict 
might cease with, or even before the conflict itself 
should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph 
and a result less fundamental and astounding. 

"Both read the same Bible and pray to the same 
God ; and each invokes His aid against the other. 

"It may seem strange that any man should dare 
to ask a just God's assistance in wringing his bread 
from the sweat of the other men's faces; but let us 
judge not that we may be not judged. 

"The prayers of both could not be answered. That 
of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty 
has His own purposes. 

" 'Woe unto the world because of offenses, for it 
must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that 
man by whom the offense cometh.' 

"If we shall suppose that American slavery is one 
of these offenses, which in the providence of God 






CONCLUSION 59 

must needs come, but which, having continued 
through His appointed time, He now wills its 
removal, and that He gives to both North and South 
this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom 
the offense came, shall we discern therein any de- 
parture from those divine attributes which the be- 
lievers in a living God always ascribe to Him? 

" Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that 
this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. 
Yet if God wills that it continue until the wealth 
piled by the bondman's two hundred and fifty years 
of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop 
of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid with 
another drawn with the sword, as was said three 
thousand years ago, so still it must be said, 'The 
judgments of the Lord are true and righteous alto- 
gether. 

""With malice towards none, with charity for all, 
with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the 
right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; 
to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and 
for his widow and orphans; to bind up the nation's 
wounds, to do all which may achieve and cherish a 
just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all 
nations. ' ' 

The End of the War. — In the latter part of 

March Mr. Lincoln went to General Grant's 

headquarters to confer about military matters, 

and was there when Richmond was abandoned 

by the Confederate forces. He at once went 

to the city which for years the Federal 

armies had been attempting to capture. He 



60 LINCOLN 

spent two days amidst the wildest confusion, 
yet to him no one manifested the slightest hos- 
tile feeling. The Confederates greeted him 
kindly, while the negroes greeted him as their 
Messiah. After cautioning the military author- 
ities "to be easy," Mr. Lincoln went to Wash- 
ington, where he received the news of Lee's 
surrender. 

His Assassination. — On the evening of April 
fourteenth he went to the theatre with his 
wife and some friends. While they were 
watching the play John Wilkes Booth, an 
actor, entered the box where the party was 
seated, shot the President, leaped to the stage 
and escaped. Mr. Lincoln was carefully lifted 
from his seat, taken across the street, and 
placed on a bed in a small room of a lodging- 
house. There he lay unconscious until half-past 
seven the next morning when, in the presence 
of his family, members of his cabinet, and many 
other friends, he passed away. After his spirit 
had fled Mr. Stanton, the Secretary of War, 
exclaimed, "Now he belongs to the ages." 

Buried at Springfield. — While the dead 
President lay in state at the White House 
and at the Capitol his remains were viewed 
by thousands. The soldiers and the negroes 



CONCLUSION 61 

were conspicuous among the mourners; to 
one class he had been a father, to the other 
a liberator. His body was taken from "Wash- 
ington to Springfield, and on the journey the 
people of the nation paid tributes of love 
and respect to his memory. When the funeral 
pageant came to an end the mourning did not 
cease; neither was it confined to the American 
people. The nations of the earth mourned the 
loss of President Lincoln, and from the day of 
his death humanity has been rearing monuments 
to his greatness. 

An Estimate. — He is admired by the world 
and loved by mankind. By his words he 
roused his country to a realization of its great 
national sin ; by his acts the sin was destroyed. 
He did not profess to be a man of letters yet 
his words thrill humanity, and he is classed 
among the masters of English prose. By his 
tact and judgment he successfully carried a 
great people through the greatest crisis of 
their history. He combined so many mental 
and moral attributes that even now people do 
not know which to admire the more, the beauty 
of his character or the brilliancy of his intel- 
lect. His career is worthy of study, of admira- 
tion, of emulation. 






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